The Queen's Gambit
Available on Netflix
THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT centers on young Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy), orphaned at 9 when her brilliant but troubled mother, seemingly on purpose, crashes their car and dies. She's sent to live at The Methuen School, where the children are made docile with a daily dose of strong tranquilizers, pills that Beth soon learns to squirrel away and take for recreational purposes. Under the begrudging tutelage of a gruff janitor, she learns to play chess and displays the skills of a legitimate prodigy, besting male players many years her senior. Over time, she grows increasingly competitive, traveling the country and world with her adoptive mother and enabler Anna (Marielle Heller). As she matures, her fixation with chess is rivaled only by her troubles with drugs and alcohol -- an addiction that may ruin her before she achieves her goal of besting her fiercest opponent, the Russian champ Vasily Borgov (Marcin Dorocinski).